LA Times Crossword 3 Feb 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Fred Ohles
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Loose Change

Themed answers each include circled letters that spell out the names of coins:

  • 57A Pocket money … and what’s in the puzzle’s circles? : LOOSE CHANGE
  • 18A Settlement for prisoners : PENAL COLONY (hiding “PEN-NY”)
  • 24A Place to display tchotchkes : KNICKKNACK SHELF (hiding “NICK-EL”)
  • 36A She voices Elsa in “Frozen” films : IDINA MENZEL (hiding “DI-ME”)
  • 49A Approximately 247 acres : SQUARE KILOMETER (hiding “QUAR-TER”)

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 7m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Theatrical backdrops : SCRIMS

“Scrim” is the name given to that transparent fabric that hangs down onto a theater’s stage, often used with special lighting for various effects.

10 Academic pds. : SEMS

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

18 Settlement for prisoners : PENAL COLONY (hiding “PEN-NY”)

The official name of our smallest denomination coin is “cent”, and our use of the word “penny” is just a colloquialism derived from the British coin of the same name. In the UK, the plural of penny is “pence”, whereas we have “pennies” in our pockets.

20 Iberian river : EBRO

The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the “Iber” river that gives the “Iberian” Peninsula its name.

22 Countless years : EON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

23 One with cinco dedos : MANO

In Spanish, a “mano” (hand) has “cinco dedos” (five fingers).

24 Place to display tchotchkes : KNICKKNACK SHELF (hiding “NICK-EL”)

The 5-cent American coin known as a nickel is actually made up of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The first nickel was introduced in 1866, and was named the Shield nickel due to the shield design on the front of the coin. The current design is the Jefferson nickel, which was introduced in 1938.

“Tchotchke” is a slang term meaning “cheap, showy trinket”. It came into English from a Slavic source via Yiddish.

32 High-level H.S. classes : APS

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school (HS). After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

35 Linseed oil source : FLAX

Flax is mainly grown for its seeds (to make oil) and for its fibers. Flax fibers have been used to make linen for centuries, certainly back as far as the days of the ancient Egyptians. Flax fibers are soft and shiny, resembling blond hair, hence the term “flaxen hair”.

Linseed oil is also known as flaxseed oil, as the oil is extracted from the dried seeds of the flax plant.

36 She voices Elsa in “Frozen” films : IDINA MENZEL (hiding “DI-ME”)

Actress and singer Idina Menzel came to public attention when she was a member of the original Broadway cast of “Rent”. She is known on the small screen for playing Shelby Corcoran on the musical TV show “Glee”. On the big screen, her most noted performance was as the voice actor behind Queen Elsa in the Disney hit “Frozen”. It is Menzel who sings the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” in “Frozen”.

The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

39 PC connections : DSLS

The initialism “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is a technology that allows Internet service to be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

42 “MASH” milieu: Abbr. : KOR

Korea was occupied by the Japanese military from 1910 until Japan surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. While the UN was working towards a trusteeship administration for Korea, the Soviet Union managed the Korean Peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the US managed the south. The UN’s plans came to naught as the Cold War dictated the establishment of the two separate states of North Korea and South Korea. North Korea invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War. After three years of fighting, the border between the two states became the demarcation line between the two military forces on the day the Armistice Agreement was signed. That line runs diagonally across the 38th parallel, and is better known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

“M*A*S*H” has only three stars (three asterisks, that is). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

“MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” is a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker. “Richard Hooker” was the pen name used by Dr. H. Richard Hornberger and writer W. C. Heinz. The novel was the inspiration for the iconic 1970 movie “M*A*S*H” and the great spin-off television series.

44 Pre-1868 Tokyo : EDO

“Edo” is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

45 Like Stout’s Nero Wolfe : OBESE

Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: “Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.

49 Approximately 247 acres : SQUARE KILOMETER (hiding “QUAR-TER”)

At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. Then, an acre was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one chain wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. An area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

The American quarter is a little unusual in the world of decimal currency, if you think about it. Most currencies have a “20-cent” coin, which is easier to work with mathematically. The US went for the quarter in deference to the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars into eight wedge-shaped “bits”. That’s also why the quarter is sometimes referred to as “two bits”. We’ve been using the adjective “two-bit” to mean “cheap, tawdry” at least since 1929. State quarters were introduced in 1999.

54 Govt. agency with an Informed Delivery service : USPS

The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

Informed Delivery is a free service offered by the US Postal Service (USPS) that allows customers to preview incoming mail and packages in a daily email.

55 Cry from a crib : WAH!

In Old English, the word “cribbe” applied to a manger, an open box holding fodder for livestock. Probably because of the association of a manger used as a bed for the infant Jesus, the word “crib” came to describe an enclosed bed for a child.

56 Distant relative of the emu : RHEA

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek Titan Rhea. It’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

61 Supergirl’s symbol : ESS

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers. On Earth, Supergirl uses the name “Linda Lee”.

62 Wheel cover : TIRE

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

64 GPS indication : RTE

A global positioning system (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).

65 Soap since 1965, familiarly : DAYS

NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” is the second-longest running soap opera on US television, second only to “General Hospital”. “Days …” has been aired since November 1965.

Down

1 Capital east of Denver : TOPEKA

Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and is located on the Kansas River in the northeast of the state. The name “Topeka” was chosen in 1855 and translates from the Kansa and the Ioway languages as “to dig good potatoes”. The reference isn’t to the common potato but rather to the herb known as the prairie potato (also “prairie turnip”), which was an important food for many Native Americans.

2 Site with many home pages? : AIRBNB

Airbnb is a website-based service that matches people wanting to rent out short-term living quarters to people seeking accommodation. The company was founded in 2008 as AirBed & Breakfast. The original concept was renting out an “air bed” and providing “breakfast” to someone looking for cheap, temporary accommodation.

3 Name spelled out in a Van Morrison song : GLORIA

“Gloria” is a song composed by Irish singer Van Morrison and recorded by his band Them in 1964. The song didn’t do very well in the charts when released, but it has certainly gained in popularity over the decades, helped along by a very distinctive, albeit repetitive, chorus.

4 “The Racer’s Edge” : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

7 Donald Jr.’s mom : IVANA

Ivana Zelníčková was born in Czechoslovakia. She married an Austrian named Alfred Winklmayr, in an arrangement that allowed her to leave Communist Czechoslovakia. The marriage was dissolved within two years, and Zelníčková settled in Canada. She was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly as well-covered as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.

Donald Trump Jr. is the oldest child of President Donald Trump and his first wife Ivana Trump née Zelníčková. Soon after his father was elected president, Donald Jr. was named trustee of the Trump Organization, along with his brother Eric and company CFO Allen Weisselberg.

8 Many-voiced Blanc : MEL

Mel Blanc was known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices”. We’ve all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc’s tombstone are … “That’s all folks”.

9 Capital WNW of Denver : SLC

Salt Lake City (SLC) was founded by Brigham Young, in 1847. The city takes its name from the Great Salt Lake on which it sits, and indeed was known as “Great Salt Lake City” up until 1868.

10 Psalm instruction : SELAH

“Selah” is a word that appears commonly in the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Apparently the exact meaning of the term is unclear, but it is used as an instruction in reading or singing the text.

11 Three-time “Modern Family” Emmy nominee : ED O’NEILL

Ed O’Neill made it big on television playing Al Bundy on the sitcom “Married … with Children”, not a show I ever cared for. However, O’Neill is in the cast of a great show that I do recommend, namely “Modern Family”. Off screen, O’Neill is a very proficient practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, earning his black belt in 2007.

“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described as “mockumentaries”.

12 Company that merged with Konica : MINOLTA

Minolta was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and related products. Minolta was founded in 1928 to make cameras using imported German technology. One of the company’s most memorable products was the world’s first integrated autofocus 35mm SLR camera. Minolta merged with Konica in 2003 to form Konica Minolta.

19 Siberian city : OMSK

Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia. It is located over 1400 miles from Moscow and was chosen as the destination for many internal exiles in the mid-1900s. Perhaps the most famous of these exiles was the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

25 French military cap : KEPI

A kepi is a circular cap with a visor, one that’s particularly associated with the French military.

27 “Hogan’s Heroes” colonel : KLINK

On the sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes”, Colonel Klink was the Camp Commandant, played by Werner Klemperer. Klemperer was born in Cologne in Germany, and fled the country with his family in 1935 due to Nazi persecution of Jews. Later, Klemperer joined the US Army and ended up using his show business talent to entertain the troops in the Pacific. Werner was the son of renowned conductor Otto Klemperer.

“Hogan’s Heroes” is a sitcom that ran in the late sixties and early seventies. The show starred Bob Crane as the ranking prisoner in a German POW camp during WWII. The four major German roles were played by actors who all were Jewish, and who all fled from the Nazis during the war. The French-American actor Robert Clary, who played Corporal Lebeau, spent three years in concentration camps before being liberated from Buchenwald in 1945.

34 Decision maker at home : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

35 “Show Boat” author : FERBER

Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Show Boat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, which were adapted successfully for the stage and/or big screen.

“Show Boat” is a 1926 novel by Edna Ferber that tells the story of performers on a floating theater, a riverboat named Cotton Blossom. The novel was famously adapted into a stage musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that premiered in 1927. “Show Boat”, the musical, gave us classic songs such as “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”.

37 Wild way to run : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

38 New way for many to meet : ZOOM

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

39 __ Moines : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

40 Giant redwood : SEQUOIA

The giant sequoia tree is also known as the giant redwood. There’s only one part of the world where you can see giant sequoias growing naturally, and that’s on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. However, there are plenty of examples of giant sequoias that have been planted as ornamentals all over the world.

44 Scots Gaelic : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

46 Old anesthetics : ETHERS

Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.

50 Altar areas : APSES

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

57 Bygone Ford : LTD

There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation “LTD” stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for “Luxury Trim Decor”, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning “Lincoln Type Design”, it seems that “LTD” was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

58 Current events TV channel : CNN

CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980 by the Turner Broadcasting System, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

60 Savannah summer hrs. : EDT

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Savannah was founded in 1733, making it the oldest city in the state of Georgia. The city is named for the Savannah River, which runs through it. It is believed that the river’s name is derived from a Shawnee word, or from a variant name for the Shawnee people.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Playground game : TAG
4 Theatrical backdrops : SCRIMS
10 Academic pds. : SEMS
14 4-Down may be added to it : OIL
15 Tour : TRAVEL
16 Prose-fixing job : EDIT
17 Expert : PRO
18 Settlement for prisoners : PENAL COLONY (hiding “PEN-NY”)
20 Iberian river : EBRO
22 Countless years : EON
23 One with cinco dedos : MANO
24 Place to display tchotchkes : KNICKKNACK SHELF (hiding “NICK-EL”)
29 Die down, as a storm : ABATE
30 Type : ILK
31 “What was __ think?” : I TO
32 High-level H.S. classes : APS
34 Prefix with cycle : UNI-
35 Linseed oil source : FLAX
36 She voices Elsa in “Frozen” films : IDINA MENZEL (hiding “DI-ME”)
39 PC connections : DSLS
41 Little rascal : IMP
42 “MASH” milieu: Abbr. : KOR
43 Slippery swimmer : EEL
44 Pre-1868 Tokyo : EDO
45 Like Stout’s Nero Wolfe : OBESE
49 Approximately 247 acres : SQUARE KILOMETER (hiding “QUAR-TER”)
54 Govt. agency with an Informed Delivery service : USPS
55 Cry from a crib : WAH!
56 Distant relative of the emu : RHEA
57 Pocket money … and what’s in the puzzle’s circles? : LOOSE CHANGE
61 Supergirl’s symbol : ESS
62 Wheel cover : TIRE
63 “That’s unnecessary” : NO NEED
64 GPS indication : RTE
65 Soap since 1965, familiarly : DAYS
66 Like plans yet to be finalized : NOT SET
67 Grass in a roll : SOD

Down

1 Capital east of Denver : TOPEKA
2 Site with many home pages? : AIRBNB
3 Name spelled out in a Van Morrison song : GLORIA
4 “The Racer’s Edge” : STP
5 Golf course hazard : CREEK
6 Used as fuel : RAN ON
7 Donald Jr.’s mom : IVANA
8 Many-voiced Blanc : MEL
9 Capital WNW of Denver : SLC
10 Psalm instruction : SELAH
11 Three-time “Modern Family” Emmy nominee : ED O’NEILL
12 Company that merged with Konica : MINOLTA
13 Oinker’s digs : STY
19 Siberian city : OMSK
21 Eightsomes : OCTADS
25 French military cap : KEPI
26 French film : CINE
27 “Hogan’s Heroes” colonel : KLINK
28 Sly critter : FOX
33 Derogatory : SNIDE
34 Decision maker at home : UMP
35 “Show Boat” author : FERBER
36 Apparent : ILLUSORY
37 Wild way to run : AMOK
38 New way for many to meet : ZOOM
39 __ Moines : DES
40 Giant redwood : SEQUOIA
44 Scots Gaelic : ERSE
46 Old anesthetics : ETHERS
47 Makes sure of : SEES TO
48 Took off the board : ERASED
50 Altar areas : APSES
51 Start of a demand : I WANT …
52 Bowling sites : LANES
53 “Well, shucks!” : OH, GEE!
57 Bygone Ford : LTD
58 Current events TV channel : CNN
59 “Woo-__!” : HOO
60 Savannah summer hrs. : EDT

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Feb 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors.. is it me or were there a number of ‘short’ or abbrv. Words?

    2D AIRBNB.. I just rented my first booking!! Excited to see how it works out.

  2. 8:44 no errors

    SELAH has a meaning?

    Feels like a long time since I’ve seen ERSE, one of the first words I learned from crosswords, long, long ago.

    The theme helped a lot, from the moment I filled in PENALCOLONY and saw PENNY.

  3. Ick !!! Too many names and foreign terms, for one thing. Didn’t know scrims. Illusory means apparent? Not in my dictionary. Never heard of Idina Menzel. Have no idea what selah means. Don’t know kepi or mano. So not much fun. Glad all Wednesdays aren’t this hard.

  4. After SELAH, I expect next to see complete gibberish in a crossword, as it appears that nobody knows the true meaning of the word SELAH, only that it is sprinkled in the Psalms.

  5. 14 minutes, 58 seconds, needed Check Grid help on 6 fills. This one was full of really dodgy clues and “convenient” fills (for the constructor, that is).

  6. Had to Google for AIRBNB.
    STP and UMP should be indicated as abbrevs.
    I agree with @Corky – when did ILLUSORY mean apparent?
    I didn’t actually know several, but got from good guesses and the theme: DSLS, SELAH, IDENA MENZEL, – and is woo HOO a common expression?

  7. Google “illusory apparent” and you will get many hits demonstrating that the two words can indeed be synonyms. Here’s one:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_motion

    In fact, here’s another quote, directly from a dictionary:

    “Some common synonyms of illusory are apparent, ostensible, and seeming. While all these words mean not actually being what appearance indicates, illusory implies a false impression based on deceptive resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a clear view.”

  8. Idina Menzel, besides having a beautiful voice, had her name famously mispronounced (garbled, in fact!) by John Travolta at the 2015 Academy Awards. Unless he was high or has dyslexia, I can’t imagine why he so bungled it! I don’t think he ever explained…And, to Anon Mike: where are you going! I love Airbnb — often cheaper and may be less toxic since one is not likely to mingle with hotel guests….

  9. Somewhat challenging for a Wednesday; took me 15:50 with no peeks or errors. Theme helped a lot to fix one answer and a few empty squares. Knew the answer but didn’t know how to spell IDINAMENZEL or SEQUOIA. SELAH is completely new to me…

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